Lying on beds in the hospital, all patients always expressed grateful thanks and wore warm smiles when they received help
Medical staff, religious volunteers and patients celebrate the New Year at a field hospital for Covid-19 patients in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)
My second spell of voluntary service to Covid-19 patients at a field hospital just finished a week ago. Thinking back to it stirs up a lot of fond memories of the medical staff and patients I worked with.
I love the doctors and nurses who are still at the hospital and do not know when they will return home. I miss patients who were in dire need of our help and words of encouragement.
Every time we go out is an experience. When we are in love with someone, we should not delay as only with love can we do and love as much as Jesus loves: He loved them to the end, not asking for anything in return. That is unconditional love.
While looking after patients, I always carried in me love with God and for God and I loved them as they were. Although some patients made it difficult for me to approach them, I did not leave them. Like the Good Samaritan, I learned to take care of them, to love and tend them. In the end, I succeeded thanks to God's grace.
I really sympathized with those whose relatives are infected with the disease. When I was in the hospital, I was informed that my mother, siblings and grandchildren had caught the contagion.
When I heard this news, I understood the innermost feelings of those whose family members were treated in the hospital. Surely like me they were also dreadfully worried about and fearful for them, and even bore intense pain.
A year has passed with so many joys and sorrows, but what remains in me is the giving and receiving
At that time I could not help but whisper: “Lord, all my family has been infected with the coronavirus. You and I exchange jobs: I am here to serve patients and you come to help my family!"
I constantly prayed everywhere and all the time with belief in God who always knows what I need in such hard times. At the same time, I was greatly encouraged and consoled by healthcare givers and religious volunteers.
Love is infinitely creative. Although I worked for one month at the hospital this time, I am filled with the love of God and everyone. I was with patients celebrating Christmas. We cheerfully sang carols and offered Merry Christmas to one another. We also held a New Year celebration, singing, dancing and giving small but hearty gifts.
A year has passed with so many joys and sorrows, but what remains in me is the giving and receiving.
I have received a lot from God, who gave me good health to serve others in need, good words to encourage and share with others, beatific smiles to give to all people, and heartfelt sympathy to offer and love them. Thank God for everything.
I see that I have little but received so much in return. Lying on beds in the hospital, all patients always expressed grateful thanks and wore warm smiles on their faces when they received help from us although they were stricken by the contagious disease. I learned from them the ready acceptance of all things in favorable and desperate situations. They live peaceably for the present moment.
The year was not at all happy and peaceful we didn’t lose faith in God, who is always with and in us.
In his homily on a synodal Church, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Ho Chi Minh City said: “The synodal Church is a church that sets out to meet our brothers and sisters, who bear pain and suffer lack of life. The Church must set off to meet, listen and discern in order to help each of our brothers and sisters be bathed in God's light and life."
My one month of service at the hospital, though short, left me with many divine graces. I am deeply grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to love him vividly in patients, and allowing me to feel his tender loving providence. I am greatly indebted to all patients for making me realize that giving is receiving.
This is the time when I get to touch God among the patients, who need my help. We should love people when we can. If not, we will regret it later.
Sister Mary Thu Nguyet is a member of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Ho Chi Minh City. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News. This article was summarized and translated by a UCA News reporter from a Vietnamese article published by tgpsaigon.net here.
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